East Theater finds magic in wizarding world of “Puffs”

Julia Urso (right) who portrays Leanne gazes from a ledge with castmates Morgan Elliot and Meghan Hartigan. “The best part of this production was the raw emotion behind all of the characters, it made the show feel real,” Urso said.

That’s a wrap! On Saturday, January 30th, East theater put on its final performance of their winter show, Puffs.

Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic is a 2015 original play by playwright Matt Cox. The play is a parody of the Harry Potter book series by J. K. Rowling, but from the perspective of the “Puffs”, or as most people know them, the Hufflepuffs. 

Even though Puffs is a spoof of sorts, audiences did not have to be familiar with the Harry Potter series in order to get the heartwarming message that came across in East’s production. 

A charming and sweet script allowed East Theater to put on one of its most humorous shows. The enjoyable script paired with personable and loveable acting bundles together to make Puffs an entertaining show. 

In the play, audience members follow Megan Jones, Wayne Hopkins, and Oliver Rivers during their 7 years at a certain school of “magic and magic”. 

As the “Puffs”, they struggle to know their place at their school or even feel important. Megan, Wayne, and Oliver are accompanied by a very friendly entourage of their fellow Puffs, who really create the ditsy and loving nature that is the Puffs’ house. Our lead three along with the other named cast emphasize that some of the best traits one can have are loyalty and love.

One of the mostif not the mostditsy and enjoyable of all the Puffs is Leanne, portrayed by Julia Urso. Her performance was engaging and adorable, luring the audience in with her pure witsomething the entire Puffs cast embodiesbringing together the true meaning of what it means to be a Puff. 

Urso said how she incorporated bits of herself into the character in order to sell the genuine and innocent nature of the Puffs. 

“I just made the character my own to try and really show what being a Puff is about and I think that came across,” Urso said. 

While Urso is just one part of the Puffs’ house, as mentioned, the story follows 3 main characters, one of which is Megan Jones, portrayed by Ashley Sniegowski. Megan’s troubled background makes the heartwarming story tie up nicely in the end. 

Though picture-perfect happy endings may be overdone and cliche, Puffs never makes it seem tired. 

Silly and whimsical acting, stage, and script allow Sniegowski and her castmates to put on an endearing show with just the right amount of cheesiness. 

‘I was able to play around with my emotions and the feeling of loss, while also portraying small victories and growth subtly,” Sniegowski said. “I think the show went incredibly, of course, there were some hiccups but we recovered well and attributed those to the airheaded, silly, traits of the Puffs.”

Director Kathleen Belovsky said that Puffs was one of the strongest winter shows for East Theater in terms of audience as well as audience reaction. She attributed this to the cast’s comradery and chemistry on stage. 

“I just let the kids do their thing, they came up with lots of fun ideas that paired with the whimsy and happy association we were going for,” Belovsky said.

Puffs finished its 4-show run with “no complaints” from cast and crew and a strong turnout. Watching the play itself never felt dull, the acting was engaging, and every detail seemed to be articulated to present itself in the best possible way, which in turn allowed for Puffs to be a successful production for East Theater.

After they graduated from their school of magic, East Theater is dancing their way down to the islands of Greece with Mamma Mia! performed April 28-30. Auditions for the musical will take place February 6 and 7.

Samantha Trujillo is a staff editor for Oswego East’s online magazine, The Howl

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